Industry, IAEA form panel to address global challenges

September 28, 2021, 7:18AMNuclear News

More than a dozen of the world’s leading nuclear industry executives have teamed up with the International Atomic Energy Agency to form the Group of Vienna, with the aim of using nuclear technologies to address global challenges, including climate change, disease, and hunger.

The group—an initiative of the IAEA’s director general, Rafael Mariano Grossi—held its inaugural meeting in Vienna last week on the margins of the agency’s annual General Conference. According to a joint statement, the Group of Vienna will support the IAEA in its mission to accelerate and enlarge the contribution of nuclear technologies to meet environmental, social, and economic goals and to improve the health and well-being of people. Annual roundtable meetings will be convened, with the possibility of inviting additional stakeholders depending on the topics to be discussed.

What they’re saying: “Today’s meeting marks a milestone that in the coming years and decades will yield many substantive benefits,” Grossi said in a September 22 IAEA announcement. “The existential threats of our time require all actors to work together in order to secure a better future for coming generations. Respecting our different roles and responsibilities, there is much we can accomplish together.”

In addition to nuclear’s role in dealing with climate change, the announcement noted, the science can be applied to such areas as food security, human health, water and soil management and protection, plastic pollution, and disease-carrying insect pests. “In these and many other areas, nuclear technologies have much more to offer a world that is struggling to respond to the climate emergency and other urgent problems,” Grossi said. “I’m determined to do everything I can do as head of the IAEA to increase their contribution to meeting such challenges. The Group of Vienna will be a key pillar to expand these concerted efforts.”

Membership: The following companies are, with the IAEA, founding members of the Group of Vienna: China National Nuclear Corporation, Électricité de France, Eletronuclear, NAC Kazatomprom JSC, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Nucleoeléctrica Argentina, NuScale Power, Rolls Royce SMR, Rosatom, SNC-Lavalin Group, Teollisuuden Voima Oyj, Urenco, and Westinghouse Electric Company.

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